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Dec 2012
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Marion Cotillard won the best actress Academy Award in 2007 for her performance as the iconic chanteuse Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose. It’s highly likely that Cotillard, who has managed to work both sides of the Atlantic – in her native France and in Hollywood – will be nominated again in January, for her work in an altogether different sort of French film, Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone.

As a Marineland whale trainer who experiences a catastrophic accident, leaving her a double amputee, Cotillard brings riveting emotional authenticity to the sort of role that is easy to overplay, to sentimentalize. There isn’t an ounce of sentiment in Cotillard’s portrait.

Rust and Bone, a gritty love story, also stars Matthias Schoenaerts as a drifter with a little boy and some fierce boxing skills. The film opens tomorrow at the Ritz Five and Rave Motion Pictures/NJ. It has shown up on scores of year-end Top 10 lists, and has garnered Cotillard Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations.

“When I began preparing for the movie, I started to watch videos of amputated people, but then I realized very quickly that I shouldn’t do that,” Cotillard says via phone from New York. “For my character, Stéphanie, it has just happened in her life – it would have been different if she had been amputated for 10 years or something, my work would have been totally different. But because the accident has just happened, I thought I would experience what it’s like to move with no legs – that I would just experience it with her, if you know what I mean.”

During the shoot, in the scenes when Stéphanie is limbless, without the prosthetics her character eventually receives, the actress wore green socks so her lower legs and feet could be digitally erased. The result is haunting – and hauntingly realistic.

“The first time I saw the finished film, I was blown away by what they did; it was really amazing,” Cotillard says. “The people we worked with were really talented and they were very fast, very discreet on set, and the technical aspects never got in our way. . . . They made our jobs so easy.”

For Cotillard, Rust and Bone is a story about a woman and a man who have avoided the truth in their lives.

“Before the accident, she’s a very cold person, she’s struggling with herself, she’s struggling with her life, she’s not even searching for a reason to live – she’s just kind of an empty shell,” the actress explains. “And then after the accident, she really hits the bottom. And when you hit bottom, you have two options. The first is to give up, and the second one is to face yourself.”

It takes her a while, but Stéphanie chooses option No. 2. And Schoenaerts’ character, Ali, similarly learns to face himself – and the violence that has defined his life – through her.

“When you go through such a dramatic accident, you can realize that you’re alive in a different, more heightened way,” Cotillard ventures. “And all the violence she would provoke before her accident was an attempt to feel that she was alive.

“But then with what happens, she’s able to turn violence into something very powerful, that’s going to open doors for her, opening the door to life.

“And then, because of that, love happens.”

Cotillard lives with the French actor and filmmaker Guillaume Canet, of Take No One fame. The couple have a baby boy. This spring, they were based in New York, where he directed and she starred in – with Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Zoe Saldana, Mila Kunis, and Cotillard’s Rust and Bone partner, Schoenaerts – Blood Ties, a crime thriller set in the 1970s. Cotillard also shot Nightingale, a James Gray film with Jeremy Renner and Joaquin Phoenix, in New York this year. It is set during the Roaring Twenties.

In La Vie en Rose, Piaf’s life story spans six decades, beginning in 1915.

“I’m trying to cover the whole 20th century,” Cotillard says with a laugh. “Bring on the ’80s!”

Dec 2012
English Press  •  By  •  0 Comments

MARION COTILLARD has been working as an actress since she was a teenager, but it was her Oscar-winning performance as Edith Piaf in “La Vie en Rose” that brought her to the attention of American audiences – and Hollywood filmmakers.

Since then she’s worked with directors such as Michael Mann (“Public Enemies”), Woody Allen (“Midnight in Paris”), Steven Soderbergh (“Contagion”) and Christopher Nolan (“Inception,” “The Dark Knight Rises”).

In “Rust and Bone,” she returns to France for an intimate relationship movie about a whale trainer and the fighter who sort of nurses her back to health after an accident at the Sea World-like water show where she works.

The Daily News spoke with Cotillard at the Intercontinental Hotel in September during the Toronto International Film Festival.

She said her shooting schedule was so tight when “Rust and Bone” was filmed that she didn’t have time for her usual amount of preparation.

“I had like three or four days of training,” she said, “learning the choreography and approaching the orcas and feeding them. It was kind of easy for me, but I don’t have a reference.

“I love wild animals,” she added, “but it was hard to consider the whales as wild when they’re in a swimming pool. But that’s another subject.”

After a few big movies, Cotillard was attracted to the intimacy and rawness of the “Rust and Bone” script.

“I was very moved,” she said. “I thought it was a very unusual love story – a beautiful one. And I was very excited by the subject and the vision that [director] Jacques Audiard [“A Prophet”] would have of it. Because I saw all his movies, and he had never given his vision of a love story before.

“Normally, I hate to do love scenes. I don’t know who loves doing them. But in this movie,” Cotillard said, “it was not so hard because the flesh, the blood, the body, the love, is the subject of the movie. And it’s what my character needs too. So it was actually kind of easy to do.

“I love the first love scene – it’s a mix of drama and comedy and it’s very moving, and at the same time you want to laugh because of the situation. And also, Matthias [Schoenaerts] is an amazing actor to work with. In a way I was so happy for my character. I know it’s a little weird to talk that way about a character, but I was.”

Cotillard has two more films completed and awaiting release, including “Blood Ties” with director Guillaume Canet, her longtime boyfriend and the father of her son, Marcel. At the moment, though, there are no new projects on the horizon.

After completing 11 features since 2010, Cotillard is on holiday, grateful that her career has gone so well that she has the opportunity to unwind.

“I decided to take some time off without having to think about what’s next,” she said, “because otherwise it’s not really time off. . . . Now I’m really looking forward to finding something that will give me the desire to go back to work.”

Dec 2012
Gallery Updates, Movies  •  By  •  0 Comments

The Dark Knight Rises‘ was released on DVD and Blu-ray end of November/early December in most places. I have finally added high quality Blu-ray screencaptures of Marion Cotillard to the gallery. Thanks to Red Rose we also have new stills & on set pictures. Enjoy!

331 The Dark Knight Rises – 2012 > Blu-ray Screencaptures
009 The Dark Knight Rises – 2012 > Stills
003 The Dark Knight Rises – 2012 > On Set

Dec 2012
English Press  •  By  •  0 Comments

The first time I saw Marion Cotillard in the flesh was at this year’s TIFF. The jaw-droppingly gorgeous French actress was standing atop a long flight of stairs inside Michael’s on Simcoe. She was in town for the gala presentation of Rust and Bone, a dark and visceral French romance adapted from a collection of short stories by Toronto author Craig Davidson and directed by Jacques Audriard. In the film, she plays a killer whale trainer at Marineland who loses her legs in a freak accident involving an aquatic animal routine gone very, very wrong.

I happened to be coming up the stairs at Michael’s just as Cotillard, wearing bright blue and yellow satin heels, was about to go down. I saw the shoes before I saw the woman wearing them, and was about to compliment her when our eyes met, and I realized I was standing there with my one and only celebrity crush. I instantly froze. And then turned into a pile of mush.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not obsessed with Cotillard in a creepy stalker way—not like the New York woman who recently pleaded guilty to sending the actress more than 500 emails, plus over 100 web videos of her (the stalker, not Cotillard) hissing like a cat and talking about playing Russian roulette. My crush is much more innocuous. It started nearly a decade ago when I saw her in the dark French comedy Jeux d’enfants, in which she plays a fiery woman who falls for her handsome best friend, played by the heartthrob (and Cotillard’s real-life partner) Guillaume Canet. She had me at bonjour.

With Rust and Bone, which hits theatres this month, Cotillard is an early contender for a Best Actress Oscar. She’s already won the big prize once, for her depiction of Édith Piaf in 2007’s La Vie en rose, which captured the conflicted chanteuse’s messy, selfish and tragic existence with an irrepressible intensity and almost eerie realism. She’s only the third French actress to take home the award—after Claudette Colbert, for 1934’s It Happened One Night, and Simone Signoret, for 1959’s Room at the Top—and the first to win for a French-language performance.

At the time, she could barely speak enough English to cobble together an acceptance speech, offering little more than a string of bumbled clichés and stunned thank yous. Five years later, she’s the public face of Rust and Bone for the film’s North American tour. At the TIFF screening, she deftly translated Audiard’s opening remarks, charming the capacity crowd.

Cotillard has come a long way in such a short time, and not just linguistically. Her post-Piaf resumé is a catalogue of big-name Hollywood directors—Michael Mann, Rob Marshall, Woody Allen, Steven Soderbergh. Not to mention her most high-profile role to date, as Bruce Wayne’s mysterious romantic interest in The Dark Knight Rises, for which director Christopher Nolan adjusted the shooting schedule purely to accommodate Cotillard, who was pregnant with her first child.

And yet Hollywood doesn’t quite know what to do with her. In the European films where I like her best, Cotillard is often cast as powerful, complicated women—roles that allow her to contrast an inner turmoil with her serene outer beauty. On this continent, she still gets stuck playing the foil to more
magnificent men.

We got a taste of Cotillard unleashed in Nolan’s Inception, in which she played Leo­nardo DiCaprio’s dead wife, who haunts his dreams with ever-greater maliciousness. Every move she makes in the film insinuates violence, every facial expression is a threat. She channels that same intensity in the musical Nine, in which she cuts down her philandering husband, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, with a sassy striptease. Both roles hint at Cotillard’s range, and yet neither captures her at her best.

Rust and Bone is the kind of character-driven drama that allows Cotillard to be raw, ragged and a little ferocious. After the grisly accident with the whale, Cotillard’s character awakens in a hospital room and slowly becomes aware that she’s a double-amputee. She screams and hurls herself from her bed to the floor, writhing in agony. Her pain is so palpable it makes you squirm in your seat. She is slowly restored by a friendship-cum-romance with a drifting street fighter and deadbeat dad (played with brute force by Belgian-born dreamboat Matthias Schoenaerts).

The role of a tragically disabled person who finds love and the will to survive sounds like shameless Oscar bait, but Cotillard makes the melodramatic scenario feel real. Her performance doesn’t come off as capital-A Acting—it’s as if you are witnessing someone’s most private moments. When she and Schoenaerts’ character finally have sex, the moment is entirely unsexy. She wants to know if she is still capable of engaging in intimate physical acts, and he, rather perfunctorily, obliges.

It’s the kind of scene that couldn’t happen in any of the blockbusting popcorn flicks that characterize her newfound Tinseltown career, but it’s one that shows exactly what she is capable of. There aren’t any bat-suited superheroes in Rust and Bone. What it does have is the real Marion—the one capable of reducing a man to nothing more than mush.

Dec 2012
Awards, Movies  •  By  •  1 Comment

L’Académie des Lumières announced their nominations for the Lumières awards yesterday – these could be called the French Golden Globes as they’re given out by the foreign press. ‘Rust and Bone‘ (De rouille et d’os) is dominating the list:

Best film
Les Adieux à La Reine, Benoît Jacquot
Amour, Michael Haneke
Camille Redouble, Noémie Lvovsky
Holy Motors, Leos Carax
De Rouille Et D’Os, Jacques Audiard

Best Director
Jacques Audiard, De Rouille Et D’Os

Leos Carax, Holy Motors
Michael Haneke, Amour
Noémie Lvovsky, Camille Redouble
Cyril Mennegun, Louise Wimmer

Best Screenplay
Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain, De Rouille Et D’Os

Leos Carax, Holy Motors
Benoit Jacquot, Gilles Taurand, Les Adieux à La Reine
Noémie Lvovsky, Maud Ameline, Pierre-Olivier Mattéi, Florence Seyvos, Camille Redouble
Valerie Zenatti, Thierry Binisti, Une Bouteille à La Mer

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, De Rouille Et D’Os

Catherine Frot, Les Saveurs Du Palais
Noemie Lvovsky, Camille Redouble
Corinne Masiero, Louise Wimmer
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

Best Actor
Guillaume Canet, Une Vie Meilleure
Denis Lavant, Holy Motors
Jérémie Rénier, Cloclo
Mathias Schoenaerts, De Rouille Et D’Os
Jean Louis Trintignant, Amour

The 18èmes Trophées Des Lumières 2013 ceremony will be held on January 18 at the Gaîté lyrique in Paris.

The other major French awards, the Césars – the French Oscars – will announce their nominations on January 25 and the winners on February 22.